There was a time when hunting was a fun sport. We used to be proud of ourselves when we went out of our way to intrude a wild animal’s natural habitat and killed them. It was a great stroke of our ego, no doubt. But we have moved past that. Yes, the transition has been late and now, the animals that we had once hunted have become critically endangered. But it’s better late than never. People have become more aware and concerned about animal life. With organizations like WWF and PETA growing stronger, we are gathering more knowledge about how animals should be treated and how we can play our own part in establishing a safer environment for both animals and us.
But there are some people who do not quite understand this simple fact. Back in 2015, the famous Cecil The Lion in Zimbabwe was killed in a recreational hunting game by a dentist Walter Palmer. Unfortunately, the perpetrator was released, though he was not relieved of public anger. With social media ruling all over the world, news spread swiftly. But unlike traditional media, people can respond to the news these days and get personal. Walter Palmer was hounded by death threats and abused by people all over the internet after what he did. He even had to get out of his house and seek protection outside.
It almost seemed that the specific event was one time and aspiring hunters must have already got the warning. But things don’t always go as expected. A picture resurfaced online of Mike Jines, a partner in the famous company TopGen Energy in Georgia, US, standing with his friend Max “Buzz” Delezenne, posing behind what seems like a trophy kill – two dead baby elephants, shot. One of them has been shot straight through the head.
What did the baby elephant do which led it to get a bullet through its head? We don’t know. The details appear shady, and according to Mike Jines, they defended themselves. But you can’t really fool the internet. Any person who is posing behind two dead elephants must have done it intentionally. A defensive action does not result in stylish Instagram poses.
And quite fairly, the internet lent its powerful voice on this topic.
First, the TopGen Energy received a lot of criticism, being flooded by messages that read ‘not recommended’ by people. People have also called for a ban on hunting in Zimbabwe. Despite the 60-year old businessman trying to mention that the events are being misinterpreted, the wheels had started rolling and the internet began its magic. Posts were published which gave out the email address of Mr Jines and TopGen Energy, and urged people to mail the company about their concerns. Even a petition was signed by about 90,000 people promising to send this email. Many of them noted that Jines was trying to keep the events from turning into the backlash that ensued after the Palmer and Cecil the Lion situation.
People on Twitter joined in soon. Some called Jines to be worse than evil. There were calls to Boycott TopGen Energy. It is quite astonishing that such evil really exists in this time. More shocking is the claim by Mike Jenkins that the innocent animals were shot in compliance with the laws and regulations of the US and Zimbabwe. If he is saying the truth then we really need to step up and change some of our laws.
There are several pieces of evidence against Mike Jines that can prove that his act was not self-defense. In his profile, he has attached a broken link of Safari Club International Houston website where he is referred to as a member of a group called “other hunting, conservation and outdoors”. Plus, in 2014, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) banned imports of products made out of hunted elephants and Mike Jines objected to it. We can’t say it’s a coincidence.
Out of all this tragedy, there is one good news. The backlash proves that people are no longer taking hunting and animal torture lightly. According to the USFWS, this backlash proves that the people are with them, and so, if they try, they can now take away the right of hunting from individuals. That would definitely be a step in the right direction, and the Internet will back USFWS up.
We have done a lot of wrongs in the past, and now, it is time to remedy it. So, let’s back up the right organization and make the world a better place for everyone living in it.